Mapping lithuanians examining russian imperial ethnic cartography 1840s 1880s
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Mapping Lithuanians: Examining Russian Imperial Ethnic Cartography (1840s-1880s). Vytautas Petronis, PhD candidate in History, South Stockholm University-College [email protected] Ethnic cartography in the Russian Empire. Cartography:

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Mapping Lithuanians: Examining Russian Imperial Ethnic Cartography (1840s-1880s)

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Mapping lithuanians examining russian imperial ethnic cartography 1840s 1880s

Mapping Lithuanians: Examining Russian Imperial Ethnic Cartography (1840s-1880s)

Vytautas Petronis,

PhD candidate in History, South Stockholm University-College

[email protected]


Ethnic cartography in the russian empire

Ethnic cartography in the Russian Empire

  • Cartography:

  • The first (Petrine) instrumental land survey of imperial Russia (1720-1744);

  • The General Land Survey (1765- ~1840s);

    - Notes in the “economical journals” (ekonomicheskie zhurnaly):

    - Collecting economic, geographical and other information about the surveyed territories;


Ethnic cartography in the russian empire1

Ethnic cartography in the Russian Empire

  • Ethnography:

  • First ethnographical investigations began during the 18th century;

  • In the first half of the nineteenth century numerous “learned societies” appeared; they greatly expanded the understanding of what and where the Russian Empire was, and who inhabited its space;

  • A major turning point in the scientific ethnographic research occurred after the establishment of the Imperial Russian Geographic Society (IRGS) in 1845;


Afa ik 1842

Šafařik (1842)

The Latvian and Lithuanian ethno-linguistic territories (a fragment from Šafařik’s map in Slovanský národopis (1842))


Koeppen 1848 1851

Koeppen (1848; 1851)

The Lithuanian ethno-linguistic territory around the city of Vil’na (fragments from Koeppen’s Etnograficheskii atlas Evropeiskoi Rossii (1848))


Koeppen 1848 18511

Koeppen (1848; 1851)

The Lithuanian and Latvian ethnic territory (fragment from Koeppen’s Etnograficheskaia Karta Evropeiskoi Rossii (1851))


Rittikh 1862 1864

Rittikh (1862 (1864))

The Lithuanian inhabited territory in Rittikh’s Atlas narodonaseleniia Zapadno-Russkogo kraia po veroispovedaniiam (1864)


Erckert 1863

Erckert (1863)

Alterations of the ethnic composition in the North Western provinces

found in the French (on the left) and Russian (on the right)


Erckert 18631

Erckert (1863)

The Latvian and Lithuanian inhabited territories

(fragment from Erckert’s Atlas Ethnographique des provinces habitées

en totalité ou en partie par des Polonais (1863))


Rittikh 1875

Rittikh (1875)

The Lithuanian ethnic territory on Rittikh’s

Etnograficheskaia karta Evropeiskoi Rossii (1875 - fragment)


Concluding remarks

Concluding remarks

  • Šafařik’s work was the first modern ethno-linguistic map, which beside the Slavs also indicated the territories of other ethnic groups;

  • The imperial ethnic cartographers were predominantly of German origin;

  • Erckert’s atlases were illustrated possibilities of ideological manipulation in ethnic cartography;

  • Lithuanian ethnic territory was gradually shrinking. It was reflected in the maps. The political situation and ideology if the time allowed scientists interpreting multiethnic and multilingual territories in a “politically correct way”;

  • The Lithuanian National Movement, paradoxically enough, greatly relied upon the ideological ethno-cartographic works (Erckert and partially Rittikh (1862)), because they depicted the biggest Lithuanian territory.


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